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Summer Programs for High School Students in Massachusetts

The large stone face of one of the massive buildings in Massachusetts.

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The summer months present a unique opportunity for high school students who are thinking ahead to college. Numerous colleges and universities throughout Massachusetts offer distinctive summer programs that allow participants to expand their knowledge, explore potential career paths, earn college credits, and get a taste of college life. From short virtual programs to long residential opportunities, there are options to suit nearly any student. Availability is limited for these programs, so plan ahead for those you want to attend in the coming years.

Harvard Summer Programs for High Schoolers

Harvard offers two options for high school students interested in attending an immersive summer program. The Pre-College Program allows students to live on campus for two weeks while taking non-credit courses. Participants attend class three hours each day and have a choice of approximately 90 course options. Team-building activities, college readiness workshops, and social activities are organized throughout the days as well.

The Secondary School Program is typically available as a residential program on campus, a daily program for commuters, or an online program for students who prefer to work from home. This is a seven-week for-credit session. Participants can enroll in either one or two courses, choosing from more than 200 options for which they will earn college credits.

Tufts Pre-College Programs

Tufts offers a variety of pre-college programming for high school students entering grades 10 through 12. Rising 10th graders can only attend certain courses, workshops, and programs, and eligibility information can be found on the Tufts Pre-College Programs website. Residential, commuter, and online options are available.

Tufts courses for high school students can vary from year to year but typically include a wide range of classes as diverse as social psychology, organic chemistry, classical mythology, human nutrition, Renaissance Venice, and more. Students can sign up for anywhere from 1 to 10 credits from a selection of numerous courses. The program also includes a College Prep 101 Workshop and optional instruction for College Essay Writing.

Beyond traditional courses and workshops, over the summers, Tufts also offers a variety of other academic experiences for high schoolers. Students can strengthen their programming skills at Coding Academy, learn more about health-related professions at Mini Med School, engage in rigorous lab work through the Tufts Summer Research Experience, understand our changing environment at the Climate Resilience Institute, and much more.

Boston University’s Summer High School Programs

Boston University offers a range of summer courses for high school students. For rising juniors and seniors, BU High School Honors offers more than 80 college-level courses to choose from. These give students the opportunity to explore a variety of subjects in-depth over the course of six weeks, all while earning college credit. For students looking for a shorter program to fit into their busy schedules, BU also offers other immersive academic experiences that are three weeks, two weeks, or just one week long.

In their junior year of high school, young scientists can also apply for the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) program, a prestigious and very competitive opportunity to gain college-level laboratory experience in STEM.

University of Massachusetts Amherst Precollege Summer Programs

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a variety of hands-on summer programs, several of which come with college credit. For example, at the Mt. Ida campus in Newton, high school juniors and seniors can participate in a two-week, residential or commuter summer program in veterinary technology, architectural design, wildlife veterinary medicine, or construction.

UMass Amherst also offers a variety of online courses to choose from, and students can explore a range of topics, from business to creative writing to archaeology to green energy, while living on campus in Amherst. Research Intensives at UMass Amherst, meanwhile, offer STEM students the chance to gain experience in the laboratory working on projects related to biology, biochemistry, environmental studies, psychology, neuroscience, and more.

The Boston College Experience for High School Students

Boston College offers two options for high school students seeking to grow academically over the summer. High-achieving juniors and seniors can earn college credit through the Six-Week Honors Program. As part of this program, they can sign up for asynchronous online courses in the humanities, social sciences, business, computer science, and mathematics.

Students can also explore topics like business, government, acting, screenwriting, psychology, and more by taking part in one or two sessions of Two-Week Non-Credit Courses.

Boston Architectural College Summer Academy: High School Design Exploration

For more than 15 years, Boston Architectural College has offered a summer design exploration program for high school students. Throughout the month of July, participants work closely with BAC studio leaders to explore design principles in architecture, art, engineering, gaming, and more. Students are encouraged to pursue creative solutions for modern problems.

Participants can choose from two program formats, on campus or virtual. In-person students will visit Boston-area sites and business and engage in team-based design exercises. Online students will receive supply kits to complete design activities while also learning from case studies and industry professionals. Juniors and seniors who complete the program are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship toward a BAC undergraduate program. These participants also receive 1.5 college credits.

The Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics Program

The HCSSiM program is a six-week course that allows high school students to live on the Hampshire College campus, immersing themselves in mathematics studies. Monday through Saturday, students participate in four hours of classes followed by a Prime Time Theorem before supper and problem sessions in the evening.

Brandeis Precollege Online Courses

Brandeis University offers a three-week program called Genesis that is focused on Jewish studies and spirituality. Students come together on campus for college-level coursework, bonding activities, and religious celebration.

Alternatively, high school students can also choose from several self-paced, online courses in topics such as law, environmental studies, and public health. Students receive support and encouragement from a mentor as they work through video lessons and assignments, and they complete a final project at the end as a capstone.

Boston Leadership Institute

The Boston Leadership Institute offers commuter and residential options for high school students interested in STEM, medicine, and business. The most intensive, competitive programs last three weeks and focus on research in business, science, engineering, medicine, and technology. BLI also offers a variety of one-week programs that will introduce students to topics spanning forensics, cryptography, surgery, big data, and others. They also offer Edge Programs to give students a boost in their school-year science classes and prepare for Advanced Placement tests.

Final Thoughts

Participating in programs like these now will help you gain a better understanding of what you can expect and what you’ll most enjoy when you head off to college. Combine one or more of these summer programs with your Spark Admissions consulting, and you’ll have a well-rounded toolkit to help you prepare for college.

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